The Queen ‘changed Northern Ireland’s mood’ towards royals and paved the way for Charles’ successful first visit as king after extending an olive branch to republicans, political commentator claims
- Broadcaster Eamonn Mallie discussed importance of Queen in Northern Ireland
- Told GB News that Her Majesty’s handshake with Martin McGuinness in 2012, was a ‘remarkable moment in time and that’s why the mood has changed’
- Former IRA commander Mr McGuinness was deputy first minister at the time
- Mr Mallie also noted the late monarch’s historic 2011 trip to Dublin
- Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing
A political commentator has claimed the ‘mood has changed’ towards royals in Northern Ireland, with the Queen paving the way for Charles III’s successful first visit as king after extending an olive branch to republicans.
Broadcaster Eamonn Mallie discussed the importance of Queen Elizabeth II in Northern Ireland and told GB News that Her Majesty’s handshake with Martin McGuinness in 2012, was a ‘remarkable moment in time and that’s why the mood has changed.’
Former IRA commander Mr McGuinness was Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein deputy first minister at the time.
Mr Mallie also noted the late monarch’s historic 2011 trip to Dublin, where she did ‘extraordinary things’ – including speaking in Irish and visiting the Garden of Remembrance, dedicated to those who fought for Irish freedom.
Her Majesty, who died last week at the age of 96 in Balmoral, was the first monarch to go to Ireland in over a century – her grandfather George V was the last King to visit in 1911 before the Republic had secured independence.
King Charles III and the Queen Consort today arrived to cheers at the royal residence in Belfast on the latest leg of his royal tour of the United Kingdom.
Broadcaster Eamonn Mallie discussed the importance of Queen Elizabeth II in Northern Ireland and told GB News that Her Majesty’s handshake with Martin McGuinness in 2012 (pictured), was a ‘remarkable moment in time and that’s why the mood has changed.’
King Charles III and the Queen Consort today arrived to cheers at the royal residence in Belfast on the latest leg of his royal tour of the United Kingdom (pictured)
Mr Mallie (pictured) also noted the late monarch’s historic 2011 trip to Dublin, where she did ‘extraordinary things’ – including speaking in Irish and visiting the Garden of Remembrance, dedicated to those who fought for Irish freedom
Discussing the Queen’s trip to Belfast in 2012, Mr Mallie said: ‘When she was coming to Northern Ireland, engaged in that handshake, it was a remarkable moment in time and that’s why the mood has changed.
‘I don’t think everybody is gone royalist in the nationalist community, no, but there’s a greater understanding. The Queen showed leadership and McGuinness and those people showed leadership as well.’
He continued: ‘In my reporting days, the Queen only visited Unionist towns and cities across Northern Ireland. You would not get the Queen visiting nationalist areas per se. It just didn’t happen.
‘Remember, there was a time when the IRA would have killed the Queen, if the opportunity arose, they would have killed her. They killed Earl Mountbatten, for example, such an important figure in the whole area of the royalty, so things have changed.
‘Why have they changed? Because of the personalities of the Queen herself and Mary McAleese, the former president of Ireland.’
Belfast-born Mary McAleese, who was president of Ireland when Prince Philip accompanied Queen Elizabeth on the historic 2011 visit, has previously said the late Duke of Edinburgh was ‘on a mission to heal history’ during the trip.
Speaking about Mary, Mr Mallie continued: ‘She was born and raised in the Ardoyne in North Belfast.
‘When she met the Queen she was very much in our capacity as president of Ireland involved in reconciliation across the community in Northern Ireland, particularly under the auspices of her husband Martin.
Queen Elizabeth II (2nd R) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (R) pictured with Irish President Mary McAleese (2nd L) and her husband Martin McAleese (L) as they arrived at the Aras an Uachtarain, the official residence of the President of Ireland, on May 17, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland
‘It was meeting with the Loyalists throughout her tenure of office in governance. And when Mary McAleese met the Queen, the Queen acknowledged that Mary McAleese was very much given to cross-community reconciliation.’
He added: ‘She invited the Queen to Dublin, when the Queen went to Dublin, it was a remarkable development.
‘She spoke in Dublin Castle. She opened her remarks with “president and people”, it was remarkable the Queen’s speaking Irish – exemplary Irish at that, it wasn’t a broken Irish.
‘And then she made remarkable remarks about the relationships with the peoples of these islands and the Irish and the British. She wished that people had done things differently.
‘There was a sense it wasn’t quite an apology but it was an acknowledgement that we hurt each other and, of course, she spoke of the personal hurt.’
David Cameron shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth II as he arrives to attend a state dinner hosted by Irish President Mary McAllese at Dublin Castle in 2011
Mr Mallie said: ‘She obviously had in mind the death of Earl Mountbatten – and the other people who had lost their lives in the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
‘She did three things in Dublin – remarkable. She went to the Garden of Remembrance, that’s where the people who fought to win Irish freedom were buried.
‘Secondly, she went to Croke Park, the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association. Previously, in the 1920s, British soldiers and security services shot that particular ground up and a young man called Michael Hogan was shot dead.’
He added: ‘She did extraordinary things when she was in Dublin, extraordinary things, and that was not lost on the broad nationalist people.
‘Flowing from that, people like Martin McGuinness realised they had made a big mistake by boycotting the Dublin Castle meeting and he took steps to find a pathway to acknowledge the Queen.’
The Queen left the whole room in shock when she delivered a speech in Irish during a historic visit to Ireland in 2011, David Cameron revealed. The Queen and Prince Philip in 2011, pictured
David Cameron previously revealed the Queen left the whole room in shock when she delivered a speech in Irish on the trip.
The former Prime Minster had joined Her Majesty and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny during a visit to Dublin Castle, which Prince Philip helped her to prepared for ‘astutely’.
Writing in the Telegraph , Emma Barnett revealed that Cameron said he can ‘still remember the ‘gasp’ that rolled through the room at Dublin castle when The Queen began speaking in Irish, adding it was a ‘brilliant moment’.
Her Majesty opened the speech by saying ‘A Uachtaráin, agus a chairde’ which translates as ‘President and friends’ before going on to finish in English, adding: ‘Madam President, Prince Philip and I are delighted to be here, and to experience at first hand Ireland’s world-famous hospitality.’
Meanwhile, Mr Kenny added that the trip went ‘a long way towards repairing the wounds left by the troubles’.
King Charles III is greeted by schoolchildren outside Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland this afternoon
Well-wishers cheered when they first caught sight of the couple and the King and his wife received a 21-gun salute as they entered the grounds
Shouts of ‘God save the King’ were heard and at one moment and a corgi in the crowd (pictured above) snuggled up to Charles when its owner held it up during the walkabout by the royal couple
King Charles, who is on his Operation Spring Tide tour around the UK, and Camilla travelled to Hillsborough Castle in Co Down, the royal residence in Northern Ireland, for several engagements today
King Charles III, with the Queen Consort, speaking after receiving a Message of Condolence by Alex Maskey, the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, at Hillsborough Castle today, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last Thursday
‘The first thing she did was to agree to come to Ireland,’ he recalled. ‘The second thing was to prepare for it astutely and in detail. You know, deep down, there was not just symbolism, but a massive effort by her and by her late husband to get that visit right.’
He went on that she bought an end to ‘a great deal of hostility’ and when leaving she told him ‘You know, of all the royal visits that I have conducted in 60 years, this is the one that I really wanted to do.’
Meanwhile, Charles III and Camilla were met with huge roars of approval as they exited their blacked-out BMW and started their walkabout today, grabbing onto outstretched hands, accepting flowers and speaking with those who turned out to greet them.
A local corgi, famously his late mother’s favorite breed of dog, was seen snuggling up to King Charles as he shook hands with well-wishers, before he received a 21-gun salute as they entered the grounds of Hillsborough Castle – the province’s official residence of the reigning monarch and members of the Royal Family.
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